PC Gamer

If Minecraft were on the Super NES, it might look something like Terraria, Re-Logic's lovely crafting sandbox RPG that launched around six years ago on PC. While the popularity of most games dwindles over the years, Terraria's fanbase has only grown in size, so it comes as little surprise to hear that it's sold over 20 million copies since its release.

Interestingly, 8.5 million of the 20.5 million copies sold have been in the last 18 months, since version 1.3 was unleashed on PC. That update is coming to consoles and mobile platforms shortly, the announcement post reveals, so if you're not playing it on PC you'll soon be able to tinker with Terraria's latest evolution, which has been gestating on desktops and laptops for a year-and-a-half now.

In the years since its release, Terraria's NPC, enemy, boss and biome counts have ballooned massively, while extra modes, events and other bits have been added to the ever-expanding sandbox too. If you're one of its 20+ million players, you might want to take a look at our Terraria mod roundup.

PC Gamer

Last year, The Chinese Room released a console version of its flagship non-combat exploration game Dear Esther—named the Landmark Edition—and suggested it would one day land on PC. It's now doing exactly that, the developer has revealed, and will be completely free-of-charge to owners of the original on Steam as of 6pm GMT/10am PT tomorrow.

With it comes remastered audio and developer commentary for the game which is widely considered to have sparked the 'walking simulator' genre. It's been ported from the original Source Engine onto Unity 5 and has additional accessibility options, large subtitles, a crosshair, multi-language options, and a smattering of trophies and achievements.  

Since the launch of the 2012 original, a number of similar games have come along—not least The Chinese Room's own Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. Of the former, Chris described it as "a trip through a brilliantly conceived landscape that rewards attentive engagement with a moving story."

Here's the launch trailer for the game's PS4 variation:

In a blog post, The Chinese Room also promises a mega-exciting announcement which will be made at 10am PT/6pm GMT when the game launches. "[We] can't say more now," reads the post, "but follow us on Twitter because you really don't want to miss the boat on this one and it's extremely time sensitive." 

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

The ‘Landmark Edition’ of seminal walky story Dear Esther [official site] will launch tomorrow, developers The Chinese Room have announced. It’s basically the same game, but remade in the Unity engine with a few tweaks and a director’s commentary. It’ll be free for everyone who already owns the original Dear Esther, and it sounds like it’ll be separate rather than strictly an ‘update’, preserving that Source engine version and mod heritage. That’s nice. … [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - Joost

Deadlift reveal!
The new ‘Naut, Samuel ‘Deadlift’ Gains has been completely revealed during the Livestreams. His gameplay, skills and voice lines were all shown during several streams. He is now ready to demonstrate his strength!

Level editor and Steam workshop integration are live!
The level editor is now available in Beta for anyone who owns a copy of Awesomenauts. The level editor has Steam workshop integration which allows you to play levels made by anyone through the Steam workshop. There are easy-to-use options for simple level designs and more advanced features like AIs to make more advanced levels. Try whatever you like and let your mind be free!

New custom game browser!
The custom game browser makes it possible to play with friends and find specific games more easily. This can be combined with the new level editor in order to play different levels and even game modes (for now the Beta only allows you to share maps though). Just make sure the maps are uploaded to the Steam workshop!

Skills unlocked from the start!
In this Beta patch we are experimenting with unlocking your character’s 2 basic skills right from the start of the game without having to buy them in the store. This is something we want to experiment with and we would like to receive feedback from players on this.

How to get the Beta version?
The beta is downloaded next to the main game, so you will have both on your computer at once. This means you won’t have to download updates whenever you switch from beta to standard.
To access the beta:
  • Right-click Awesomenauts in your Steam Library and select "Properties"
  • Select the "DLC" tab and make sure "Awesomenauts - Beta dual-load" is checked.
  • Wait until the beta is downloaded (this can take a while).
  • Start the game
  • Select "Play Awesomenauts Beta" and hit "PLAY"
Patch notes
The full patch notes are uploaded on the Awesomenauts forum. You can find the full details of the patch in the link below:
http://www.awesomenauts.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=49113
Community Announcements - Mitaki
The Beta for Awesomenauts 3.5, which includes the level editor, custom games browser, and Deadlift, will go live tomorrow during the Streamisho!

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow at 17:00 CET, 16:00 UK, 11AM ET, 8AM PT to Twitch.tv/RonimoGames for the reveal of Deadlift's abilities, his in-game visuals, his voice, and lots more, and join us in the Beta for some custom games!
Community Announcements - Mitaki
The Awesomenauts Rumble Doubles tournament is going into overdrive with the playoffs this weekend! 17 Teams have qualified and will face off against oneanother in a double-elimination bracket. Who will qualify for the Grand Finals?

Tune in to the livestream this Sunday from 19:00 CET, 18:00 UK, 1PM ET, 10AM PT onwards over at Twitch.tv/AwesomenautsRumble! The Grand Finals will be aired a week later.

Good luck to all those participating in the competition, and many thanks to all the casters and officials who're involved in making this event happen!
Community Announcements - Mitaki

During the Streamisho last Wednesday, Jasper and Joost talked about the new features of the Awesomenauts 3.5 Beta, which will go live during the Streamisho next week. The amazing possibilities of the level editor were also shown!

The newly revealed character goes by the name of Samuel ‘’Deadlift’’ Gains, who was a young calf during "The Great Bovinion Wrangling" and escaped aboard a dairy transport bound for the Flexon, where all inhabitants are incredibly muscular! A Kremzon took him in and put him on a rough training regiment, to prepare for his revenge on Sheriff Lonestar.

During the stream of February 8th, 17:00 CET, 16:00 UK time, 11AM ET and 8AM PT, we will show gameplay of Deadlift and reveal his voice lines for the first time, and experiment more with the level editor and the custom game browser.

If you missed yesterday’s stream, you can check it out here: https://youtu.be/UHgcaULJuv0
Community Announcements - [ronma]nog1potje
Can't see links? Click this article.

The two rounds of qualifiers for Awesomenauts Rumble Doubles took place last weekend, and seventeen teams have made it to the playoffs! These playoffs will take place next Saturday, and will be covered live over at Twitch.tv/AwesomenautsRumble from 19:00 CET, 18:00 UK, 1PM ET, 10AM PT onwards! The Grand Finals will be aired a week later.

Eddster, MrPillow, Uberransy, and Nicklikcinil hosted a great show this weekend, and will return on Saturday. In case you missed any of the games, you can catch the VODs through the links below:

Pewdiepie Fanclub vs Light of Justice - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/118359858
Casual Gamers vs Humble Bundle - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/118360852
American Mojo vs please LOVE - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/118361328
PlayingToDie vs Endangered Danimals - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/118362621
Aggro Master Race vs DAVE - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/118364243
please LOVE vs Meow! - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/118365111

If you prefer to watch the shows in their entirety, you can catch the full shows here:
Qualifier 1 - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/118366014
Qualifier 2 - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/118365320

American Mojo, the winners of the 2016 Rumble Doubles tournament gave an interview during the show, which is available here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/118362170

Thanks to everyone who participated in the tournament so far, and to all community members who helped out behind the scenes to make this happen.
PC Gamer

Last week, I talked to Amnesia: The Dark Descent and SOMA designer Thomas Grip about how Resident Evil influenced the way he designs video games. He told me that the first time he saw Resident Evil, he never realized games could be made in such a way and that every horror game he's worked on has been influenced by Capcom's seminal horror series. 

But our conversation left me with some questions. I wanted to know what he thought the future of horror games held, so over the past week, we talked about what the "Exorcist of video games" looks like and how Frictional Games plans to pursue the telling of innovative stories.

Mat: How do you feel about the future of horror in video games? Do you feel like it's something that could go away at some point, much like how fighting games went out of vogue for a while?

My hope is then that the horror will go away from hunted-by-monster scenarios

Grip: Them going away seems extremely unlikely given that horror is a genre that has basically been around since humans first developed language. As for the future, I think that what we will be seeing a lot more of is horror simulators—games that put more effort into making the core mechanics about horror. As much as I love the first Resident Evil, for the most part, the game has the horror as a sort of thematic layer. At its core, Resident Evil is not about horror—it is about collecting ammo, shooting enemies, and solving puzzles. The horror aspects are just a wrapping on that. Compare that to a game like Alien: Isolation, where the game is really all about avoiding being eaten by the Alien creature. It feels like [Resident Evil 7] is going more in that direction as well. It is the sort of horror design I find the most intriguing and also the one that I think has the biggest impact on an audience. My hope is then that the horror will go away from hunted-by-monster scenarios and try to recreate other types of horror in a playable fashion. For instance, it would be interesting to figure out what the video game version of The Exorcist is.

That's a very interesting idea. As for some of the more popular horror games in recent years, it's hard to think of one where you're not hiding from, shooting at, or being chased by someone or something. What do you think something like The Exorcist looks like in video game form?

Grip: In terms of horror not about escaping from monsters, that was what we tried to dabble with a bit in SOMA. We did add monsters there, so it is obviously not a pure example, but we feel we at least learned from valuable lessons. And the idea is that we continue along that path, so it is totally something we want to explore.

The Exorcist of video games, however? Very hard to say. For one, I think you need to find some interesting play around the idea; for instance, wrapping it all as a sort of detective/mystery narrative. I don't think it needs to be The Exorcist either, just used that as an example where the monster/horror is handled differently compared to a movie like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or similar.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

I guess being a video game limits you in some ways that movies don't. Do you feel that's true or is the more the other way around?

Grip: It goes both ways. Video games can do certain things that movies cannot, and vice versa. It is just that we are so used to seeing our stories in movie form; plus, movies have refined the storytelling process over a long time, and so we tend to consider movies as more versatile. But games also have a wide range of stories that they can tell, and many of them would be very hard to make into movies. For instance, games are very good at using real time—the time it actually takes to do certain things and having that as an engaging element in the story. But in movies that gets boring fast and you have to cut. 

As an example, in a horror game you can have the protagonist conducting a long investigation of a place and really have the audience get the mystery piece-by-piece at their own pace. In movies, this is really hard to do and longer investigations often have to be juxtaposed with something else in order to keep the engagement up. So games have the upper-hand in a lot of storytelling situations.

Do you feel that actually being able to interact with and influence video games through gameplay can detract from a story?

Video games can do certain things that movies cannot, and vice versa

 Grip: The big problem is that videogames can be really fun to play, even if the story is crap. Really old movies are no longer much fun to watch, but old games—Pac-Man for instance—are still very fun. So there has been much less pressure on videogames as a medium to grow its storytelling potential. In movies, people quickly got tired of seeing people sneezing and trains going through tunnels. So there was a lot of pressure on making movies more engaging. But in videogames, we are sort of still happy with that sort of thing—there has not been any urgent need to make games more engaging, story-wise. For the most part, tweaking what we had from the start has been quite successful. 

Then there is also the fact that since books and movies are where we consume most of our stories, we are accustomed to them being presented in a certain way. Structured as a string of plot events at a certain pace. Video game stories don't really apply to those rules, and as such, it is not possible to just cram the Exorcist as-is into a game. And I think this in turn means that many people simply think it is not possible, and never really pursue the idea.

I would definitely say that SOMA focuses on telling a good story a lot more than Amnesia: The Dark Descent does. Is this a sign of you and everybody at Frictional wanting to pursue the telling of great stories that haven't been attempted in video games before? 

Grip: The intent behind SOMA was to tell a story and provide an experience that would only be possible in a video game. We also wanted to make a game where the themes were not just something in a background, but something the game was actually about. I think it went pretty well with SOMA, but I think we can do much better still. We totally plan to continue pursuing that. 

Community Announcements - Mitaki

Tune in to the shows covering the Awesomenauts Rumble Doubles qualifiers this weekend! Matches will be covered on both Saturday and Sunday, starting at 19:00 EU / 18:00 UK / 1PM ET / 10AM PT over at Twitch.tv/AwesomenautsRumble.

In this tournament, teams of two players face off in otherwise-regular Awesomenauts matches! 2v2 matches result in some really surprising gameplay and incredibly powerful pushes, so events like these are a ton of fun to watch and play!

Big thanks to MrPillow, Uberransy, Nicklikcinil, and Eddster for hosting these shows, and to the entire Awesomenauts Rumble Doubles team for making this event happen.
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